Municipal Services

OBJECTIVE

In the fall of 2018, the South Central Regional Council of Governments (SCRCOG) established Working Groups to promote efficiencies and cost-saving initiatives in municipal operations. The goal of these Working Groups was, and still is, to facilitate greater collaboration amongst the fifteen SCRCOG municipalities.

STRUCTURE

There are currently nine Working Groups (see table below), with representation consisting of municipal employees and community leaders.

Affordable Housing Fleet Managers Public Works
Energy Conservation Information Technology Purchasing
Finance MS4/Watershed Protection Solid Waste and Recycling

In addition to SCRCOG staff, consultants have been contracted to assist with planning Working Group meetings, managing programs/services, and identifying opportunities for regional collaboration. Currently, SCRCOG is working with four consultants:

Name Expert Area(s)
David Fink Affordable Housing
Novus Insight, Inc. Cybersecurity/Information Technology
Pamela Roach Energy Conservation; MS4; Food Waste Diversion; SW&R
Wilma Petro Municipal Procurement/Purchasing
PROGRAM IN ACTION

Working Groups hold frequent meetings to discuss topics/issues pertinent to operations, regional opportunities, and best practices within the focus area of the group. They often feature guest speakers from across the State who are experts in the field and provide insight and knowledge around relevant issues.

The municipal services program also utilizes Basecamp, a virtual collaboration tool. This platform is used to facilitate project management and collaboration amongst SCRCOG municipalities through a calendar of events, communal message board, and organization of resources for each Working Group.

Municipal Services

  • Primary Focus: Exploring and discussing the current state of housing, and equity issues in cities/towns within the South Central Region; learning about best practices for increasing affordable housing options; and providing resources on creating local, grassroots housing groups
  • Current Initiatives:
    • Addressing equity in affordable housing
    • Promoting the creation of affordable housing committees/groups within communities to advocate for the creation of affordable housing developments.
    • Focusing on a regional approach to housing
    • Examining the history and current state of housing policy in the region
    • Exploring the importance of transit-oriented housing
    • Learning about resources available and methods used for creating affordable housing at the municipal level
    • Coordinating with developers
    • Thinking about class, race, and their intersection with housing policy
    • Dispelling myths and misconceptions surrounding affordable housing
    • Emphasizing equity and inclusion when thinking about affordable housing
  • Featured Guest Presenters:
    • Local Governments/Public School Districts: City of Hartford; Town of Old Saybrook; Town of Avon; West Hartford Public Schools
    • Municipal Affordable Housing Groups: Town of Fairfield; Town of Guilford; Town of Stonington
    • State and Federal Agencies: CT Department of Housing; US Housing and Urban Development; Connecticut Housing Finance Authority
    • Developers: Beacon Communities; Spinnaker; Garden Homes; Verna Builders
    • Non-profits: Housing Connections; Housing Development Fund; Regional Plan Association; CT Main Street Center; CT Green Bank; Minority Inclusion Project; CT Fair Housing Center; Yale Law School; Concerned Parents of Color West Hartford
  • Primary Focus: Energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives such as electric vehicles, clean energy, solar infrastructure, municipal energy saving practices and energy consumption behavior
  • Current Initiatives:
  • Featured Guest Presenters: CT Green Bank; Energize CT; LiveGreen; SolSmart
  • Primary Focus: Creating fiscal and procurement efficiencies and cost-savings through a regional purchasing initiative
  • Current Initiatives:
    • SCRCOG Purchasing Consortium: A flexible purchasing consortium exclusive to SCRCOG municipalities
    • Municipal Procurement Training Series: Seven professional training sessions exclusive to SCRCOG municipalities; including topics such as basic procurement, bids, RFPs/RFQs, contracts, etc.
  • Featured Guest Presenters: CRCOG; Tyler Technologies; Town of Branford; Town of Norwich; City of New Haven; Town of North Branford; Edmunds & Associates; Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS); Hooker & Holcombe; Commerce Bank
  • Primary Focus: Cybersecurity and e-Government initiatives to improve municipalities’ technological infrastructure, cybersecurity posture, and ability to deliver services virtually
  • Current Initiatives:
    • Offering free seminar-style and interactive cybersecurity trainings for municipal employees
    • Preliminary vulnerability assessments
    • Development of cybersecurity policies/guidelines for implementation within city/town halls.
    • General IT consulting to assist municipalities with their individual needs and concerns.
  • Featured Guest Presenters: CIRMA; Novus Insight; Robinson & Cole; MS-ISAC; DEMHS
  • Primary Focus: Water quality and watershed protection through stormwater management solutions and ecosystem health initiatives
  • Current Initiatives:
  • Featured Guest Presenters: UConn; Watertown; MA Public Works; Connecticut DOT; Runoff Art
  • Primary Focus: Establishing best practices and collaborative initiatives related to public works (e.g. equipment sharing and asset management); in addition to the initiatives unique to public works, the topics discussed in the purchasing, solid waste & recycling, and fleet management Working Groups often include public works officials.
  • Current Initiatives:
    • Providing resources for equipment sharing
    • Regional purchasing
    • Solid waste & recycling
  • Featured Guest Presenters: Department of Physical Services for the Town of Wethersfield; Fuel Master; Dossier Systems; Dude Solutions
  • Primary Focus: Innovative waste management solutions to current issues such as the rising cost of waste disposal, and lack of disposal options, as well as exploring sustainable disposal options tailored to different components of the waste stream to aid in the burden of disposal
  • Current Initiatives:
  • Featured Guest Presenters: Center for EcoTechnology (CET); Blue Earth Compost; City of West Haven; City of New Haven; RiverCOG